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Letter Appointing Members to the Air Policy Commission

July 18, 1947

Dear Mr.______________:

The rapid development of aviation in recent years has made many of our former concepts out of date. At the same time, there exists a danger that our national security may be jeopardized and our economic welfare diminished through a lowered aircraft production and a failure of the aircraft industry to keep abreast of modern methods, with consequent retarding of the development of air transportation. There is an urgent need at this time for an evaluation of the course which the United States should follow in order to obtain, for itself and the world, the greatest possible benefits from aviation.

It is for these reasons that, upon the recommendation of the Secretaries of State, War, Navy, and Commerce and of the Air Coordinating Committee, I am creating a temporary Air Policy Commission to make an objective inquiry into national aviation policies and problems, and to assist me in formulating an integrated national aviation policy. Because of your knowledge of our national needs and our industrial capabilities, as well as your public-spirited concern for the national welfare, I ask you to serve on this Commission.

The Air Policy Commission should study, among other pertinent aspects of the problem, such questions as the current and future needs of American aviation, including commercial air transportation and the utilization of aircraft by the armed services; the nature, type, and extent of aircraft and air transportation industries that are desirable or essential to our national security and welfare; methods of encouraging needed developments in the aviation and air transportation industry; and improved organization and procedures of the Government that will assist it in handling aviation matters efficiently and in the public interest.

The final recommendations of the Commission must, however, go beyond the limits of any one phase of aviation. They should be so broad in scope and purpose that they will assist in revising old policies and in framing new ones, and will serve as a guide for formulating a carefully considered national air policy.

Because of the urgency of the problem, I request the Commission to complete its studies in time to submit its final recommendations to me by January 1, 1948. In its work the Commission will have the full cooperation of all agencies of the Government, including the Air Coordinating Committee, which has been making detailed studies of aviation policies and problems.

Although the Commission will organize its own regular staff and secretariat, the Secretary of Commerce will provide any special staff assistance which may be needed, as well as office headquarters and routine administrative services.

Sincerely yours,


Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to the following appointees to the Commission: Thomas K. Finletter, New York, N.Y., to serve as chairman; George P. Baker, Cambridge, Mass., to serve as vice chairman; Palmer Hoyt, Denver, Colo.; Henry Ford II, Detroit, Mich.; and Arthur D. Whiteside, New York, N.Y.

On December 30 the Commission transmitted to the President its report "Survival in the Air Age," dated January 1, 1948 (Government Printing Office, 166 pp.).

Harry S Truman, Letter Appointing Members to the Air Policy Commission Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232070

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